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July 15, 1974

Medical News

JAMA. 1974;229(3):247-260. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230410001001

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Solvent causes motor neuropathy in workers at clothing factory  Another compound has been added to the list of neurotoxins—an industrial solvent called methyl-n-butyl ketone, or MBK.Norman Allen, MD, professor and chairman of the Division of Neurology at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, outlined the medical detective work that led to the implication of MBK in a report to the recent Boston meeting of the American Neurological Association. His co-authors were Jerry R. Mendell, MD, associate professor of neurology at Ohio State; Donald Billmaier, MD, chief of the industrial health division of the Ohio Department of Health, and Robert E. Fontaine, MD, of the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta.Several physicians commenting on Dr. Allen's report said they knew of similar cases of neuropathy that had been apparently caused by exposure to MBK.The investigation began in June 1973 when an employee of a factory that makes color-printed